Social Networks and Inequality in New York City's Cultural Sector

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Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City—2014-2017
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Arts and Humanities
Social Welfare
Urban Studies and Planning
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This paper uses NYC Department of Cultural Affairs data on grantee program sites to address questions about structural inequality associated with the geography of cultural resources across New York City. The analysis supports and expands SIAP findings documented in its March 2017 report about the geography of culture in New York City. On the one hand, the distribution of program sites across the City is consistent with that of other cultural assets. Program sites tend to reinforce rather than mitigate the shortfall of cultural opportunities in the majority of lower-income neighborhoods. At the same time, it demonstrates that civic clusters—low-income neighborhoods with relatively large numbers of cultural assets—have stronger and more diverse institutional networks. This paper suggests that improving social wellbeing in lower-income neighborhoods requires strengthening both local and regional networks.

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This paper was made possible by an important dataset maintained by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and assembled for SIAP by DCLA staff. The Department’s broadest funding program, the Cultural Development Fund (CDF), requires that its roughly 1,000 grantees submit the names and locations of their program sites during the previous year. SIAP used the 2015 listing of approximately 8,000 sites citywide for this analysis. The Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City project was undertaken by SIAP in collaboration with Reinvestment Fund, a community development financial institution, with support by the Surdna Foundation, the NYC Cultural Agenda Fund in the New York Community Trust, and the University of Pennsylvania. The research was conducted between 2014 and 2017.
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